Lawrence Clinton was a young man of about 23, an indentured servant to Robert Cross, Sr of Ipswich, Massacusetts when he first came to public notice in 1665. The story of Lawrence Clinton begins with his first wife, Rachel Haffield. It is the unhappy story of an impatient young man and an older woman.

The following is taken from "Entertaining Satan" by John Putnam Demos:*

"A liaison developed between Clinton and Rachel Haffield, and soon enough there were plans for marriage. Since Clinton had contracted to serve Cross for an additional three and one-half years, he was obliged to offer compensation. "for his time". Clinton himself had no ready cash, but his fiancee did. Thanks to her, Cross received the sum of 21 pounds, and released his servant forthwith. It seems, however, that questions were raised about the legality of those arrangements, and so magistrate William Denison summoned all of the principals to his house for a public "examination:. Memories would differ, later on, as to what precisely was said at this meeting, and evidently no written record was kept. But in any case a Clinton-Haffield wedding followed soon thereafter. At the age of thirty-six Rachel was finally married -- and to a man fourteen years her junior."

This marriage took place in Dec 1665. The payment to Cross for Lawrence's freedom was contested by Rachel's sister, Ruth White and her husband. The question was whether or not Rachel had the right to dispose of the money, or whether it did indeed belong to her mother. There were trials in which Rachel figured prominently. Part of her testimony is of particular interest since it may provide leads to Lawrence's origins, if indeed there is any truth there. Rachel testified that "Lawrence Clinton said that he had an uncle worth thousands, and he would make him his heir, and that he had fifty pounds in gold to come over in Capt. Pearce's [ship], and that he had a mother in Boston." It was also brought out that Lawrence had relatives in England. It is from these various statements made by Rachel in various hearings that seem to point to Lawrence coming from England and not from Ireland, as does the New York Clinton family.

Lawrence and Rachel do not seem to have lived together very much. Rachel was always after the Town of Ipswich to get support for her from Lawrence. Neither party were faithful to the marriage vows. In 1670 Lawrence was convicted by the Ipswich court "for attempting to abuse or ravish Mary Knowlton." He was ordered at the same time to provide maintenance for his wife and to live with her. They were not successful. Rachel was not supported by Lawrence, nor did he live with her.

About 1676, Lawrence is known to have served in "King Philip's War", one of the fiercest of the New England Indian wars. Lawrence had an affair with Mary Greely, which resulted in a child, Jacob Clinton, "born the First of April, 1677" according to Ipswich Town Records. Lawrence was ordered to pay "20 pence of corn" for support of the child. (CLICK HERE for more info on this family).

In 1677 or 1678 Lawrence was found guilty of fornicating with Mary Wooden. Both parties were sentenced to be "severely whipped." About this time, Rachel petitioned for divorce, but the courts did not dissolve the marriage until Oct 1681, In 1678 or 1679, a child was born to Mary Wooden. This child, Lawrence, was probably born in Ipswich. Soon thereafter, Lawrence and Mary moved to Providence, RI, where they were married Feb 9, 1680, prior to the date the divorce from Rachel was granted. From Providence, Lawrence and Mary Wooden moved to Newport, RI. Mary had another child, also named Mary, born about 1681. Mary died in Newport in Feb. 1690.
Their children were:

  1. An Unnamed Child
  2. Lawrence (2nd)
  3. Mary

What information is available about Mary's ancestors and her descendants will be found by clicking on "MARY WOODEN, HIS SECOND WIFE" below. More information will be added as time permits.

After Mary's death, Lawrence married a widow, Margaret (Painter) Morris. The couple had six children.

Lawrence was "sued by Peleg Chamberlain to eject him from house and half a lot in Newport, R.I., 28 Mar 1704. Judgement was found for the plaintiff, but Lawrence carried the case to the Assembly on 28 March 1704 in Newport, RI. He 'Upon an appeal of Lawrence Clinton, tenant to John East Junr to this Assembly, against a verdict of jury and judgment of Court passed against him on a rehearing at the last Court of Trial in September, on action commenced by Peleg Chamberlain, guardian to the children of Samuel King deceased, the judgment passed in the Assembly, that said verdict of jury [be] conformed, and that this Assembly cannot give the said Clinton any further relief in said case,' 25 Oct. 1704 (R.I. Colonial Records, vol. 3, p.512)."
This was taken from "CLINTON FAMILY OF CONNECTICUT" by Mrs. E. J. Clinton with Donald Lines Jacobus.

The children of Lawrence and Margaret Painter Morris Clinton were:

  1. Mercy was born circa 1691 and was baptized as an adult on JAN 4, 1711 at Newport, RI.
  2. Shubael CLINTON was born circa 1693-1695 at Newport, RI.
  3. Thomas CLINTON was born circa 1698 at Newport, RI.and was baptized before 1709 at Newport, RI.
  4. Joseph CLINTON was born circa 1701 at probably Newport, RI.
  5. Martha CLINTON was born circa 1703 at Newport, RI. She was bapt-adult on MAY 13, 1711 at Newport, RI.
  6. George CLINTON was born circa 1705 at probably Newport, RI.

Lawrence Clinton died after 1707, probably in Newport, RI.

* The book "ENTERTAINING SATAN" by John Putnam Demos, published by Oxford University Press, is very informative and interesting reading. The first chapter is devoted to Rachel Haffield and Lawrence Clinton. After their divorce, Rachel was convicted of being a "witch". The story is well worth reading, particularly if you are interested in Clinton family history.





Updated:    12 AUGUST 2005